Beginning this week, Netflix subscribers with a Nintendo Wii or Sony PlayStation 3 console will be able to stream video directly from the Netflix library – without the hassle of inserting that pesky Netflix disc. According to Netflix, the process is pretty simple: Fire up your console, navigate to the online marketplace – the Wii Shop channel on the Wii and the PlayStation Store on the PS3 – and download the Netflix application.
"In addition to removing the need for discs, we’ve developed a new user interface on both applications that significantly improves the experience," Netflix exec Greg Peters wrote in a blog post today. "The new applications will allow you to search for content directly from the device and you’ll also be able to view an increasing portion of our content library with subtitles or alternate audio tracks."
Netflix has in recent months faced increased competition from other streaming video services such as Hulu – which is launching its own paid streaming service – and HBO GO. In late August, Netflix released a free app for the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, which allows users to stream videos and televisions programs from the Netflix library. (A Netflix membership is required; the app works over Wi-Fi and 3G connections.)
A few weeks later, Netflix rolled out a stream-only subscription service for Canada consumers – and hinted that a wider roll-out could occur by the end of 2010. "We are looking at adding a streaming-only option for the USA over the coming months," wrote Netflix CEO Reed Hasting. As we pointed out at the time, it's worth noting that US consumers can currently pay $8.99 a month for a DVD-by-mail option – an option which also includes unlimited streaming video.
In other words, the difference between the Canadian plan and the current cheapest US plan is only one dollar.